Music Web International: Recording of the Month January 2012.
All works are world première recordings made in the presence of the composer.
Born in 1972, Sebastian Fagerlund was recently described on the website MusicWeb International as ‘yet another obscenely talented young musician from Finland’. The occasion was the release of his opera Döbeln (BIS-SACD-1780), with a score that the reviewer went on to characterize as ‘both forward-looking and audience friendly’. Composed in 2009, Döbeln is Fagerlund’s first and so far only opera, and on the present disc we hear three orchestral scores. The musicians of the eminent Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra revel in the composer’s striking gift for orchestration, in performances supervised by the rapidly emerging young conductor Dima Slobodeniouk, who has collaborated with Fagerlund on several occasions previously. The clarinettist Christoffer Sundqvist is also well acquainted with Fagerlund’s music, and his playing served as inspiration for the composer as he wrote his colourful and eventful Clarinet Concerto. Following that work here is Partita, consisting of three movements with titles that mirror the composer’s concerns: Cerimonia (Ceremony), Risonanza (Resonance) and Preghiera (Prayer). According to Fagerlund himself, the work is not associated with any specific religion but rather with an inner, spiritual struggle in general; the need for everyone to find his or her own ‘prayer’. Closing the disc is Isola (Island) which sprang from a visit by the composer to an island in the Turku archipelago formerly used to segregate lepers and the mentally ill from the rest of society. On admittance inmates were expected to bring with them the wood for their own coffins, an ‘isle of the dead’ which today is an idyllic holiday location. A similar alternation of darkness and light, of movement and motionlessness, of violence and sensitivity, permeates Fagerlund’s tone poem.